Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Levolux swots up at Deptford Green

Deptford Green School, which is one of the last in the country to receive funding under the BSF programme, showcases the latest in sustainable building design, including a Levolux Solar Shading solution.

The £32 million development, designed by Watkins Gray Architects, re-unites upper and lower schools, which previously occupied separate sites, transforming education provision for 1300 pupils. The new building, which is arranged over 2 to 5 floors, boasts spacious classrooms, state-of-the-art music, sound recording and IT facilities and naturally lit circulation areas.

Designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, the building is optimised to maximise passive energy-efficiency. This included adapting the external envelope, particularly on the south-facing elevation which required a form of Brise Soleil.

As the UK’s leading Solar Shading specialist, Levolux was invited to develop an external Solar Shading solution comprising Western Red Cedar Timber Fins, incorporated into horizontal projections and vertical stacks.

In total, 84 aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins, each measuring 220mm wide by 40mm thick, have been incorporated into horizontal projections above ground, first and second floor windows. Projecting 900mm from the building’s facade and extending 16 metres in length, each horizontal array comprises Timber Fins fixed at an angle of 60 degrees from vertical, between profile-cut aluminium side plates. The Timber Fins are designed to provide shade, while allowing an unobstructed outward view. 
In contrast, 288 aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins, also measuring 220mm wide by 40mm thick, have been incorporated into an array of vertical stacks, extending 55 metres in length and with a height of 15 metres. The Fins are fixed at an angle of 90 degrees from vertical, with a graduated pitch across each floor.

At high level along each floor the pitch of the Fins is just 300mm, concentrating them where they provide the most effective shade. At eye level on each floor the pitch of the Fins is opened up to 900mm to maximise daylight levels and allow good outward views across the revamped Fordham Park.

As an effective form of solar control, the Timber Fins counter the risk of excessive solar heat gain in entrance/circulation areas, classrooms and in the dining area, by reflecting and absorbing solar energy before it is transmitted through glass.

The pitch and angle of the Fins ensures they work most effectively in the summer when the sun is at its peak intensity and is higher in the sky. In the winter the sun is less powerful and is lower in the sky, so its rays can pass through the Fins and solar energy can be transmitted through the glass helping to heat the building.
As usual, all timber sourced for this project by Levolux was FSC-certified with a full chain of custody. Western Red Cedar is a lightweight, durable timber and when left untreated, as in this case, it gradually acquires an attractive, silver-grey patina.

To complement the installation, the supporting structure, including support arms and brackets were finished in a graphite grey powder coating.

Opening in September 2012, Deptford Green School provides an exceptional environment for local students to thrive in very challenging times. By adopting highly sustainable and energy efficient features, such as the external Timber Fins by Levolux, the school has created the optimum conditions for students to fulfil their best potential.

For more information, visit www.levolux.com.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Levolux makes tracks in Calgary

Following almost 30 years of planning, on 10th December 2012 Calgary will open its new Light Rail Transit (LRT) route serving its southwest communities with 6 new stations, featuring state-of-the-art, energy efficient components including a Levolux Solar Shading solution.

The West LRT route extends 8.2 kilometres to the west of Calgary, doubling its LRT network and represents a big step towards making it a more sustainable city. The new route has six new stations including Sunalta, Shaganappi Point, Westbrook, 45th Street, Sirocco and 69th Street.

GEC Architecture undertook the conceptual design of each station, giving each its own unique identity, but with a common design format. Accounting for climatic changes, each station is equipped with features to optimise the passenger experience. This included the external treatment of south-facing facades with a Levolux Solar Shading solution, to counter the risk of solar heat gain throughout the summer. 
Flynn Canada, a leading building envelope contractor, was tasked with selecting products and with detailing the curtain walling and glazing arrangements. They preferred Levolux’s proposed solution as it offered the most compatible arrangement of Louvres to meet specific structural requirements dictated by the curtain walling mullions.

The application of external solar shading on new buildings with large, glazed openings is usually required to comply with building codes or regulations and is often exploited by architects and designers to enhance a building’s external aesthetic. 

As the leading provider of Solar Shading solutions, Levolux was invited to develop bespoke solutions for six buildings, comprising its Infiniti® Fin System and Aerofoil Fins, formed from extruded aluminium components.

In total, Levolux supplied 227 aerofoil-shaped Fins, applied against vertical, inclined and curved elevations. The Fins, measuring 300mm or 400mm in width, provide effective passive solar control to glazed openings in ticket halls and platform enclosures.

By adopting Levolux’s renowned Aerofoil Fins and Infiniti Fin system, the optimum form, composition and fixing method for external projections could be achieved. This helps to maintain comfortable temperatures naturally, without the need for mechanical cooling and air conditioning.
Close-up of Triniti Bracket cut-away to show thermal break
In order to satisfy the client’s challenging brief, Levolux engineered custom brackets and support arms to integrate with the curtain walling and cladding arrangements. The risk of cold bridging, interstitial condensation and noise transmission has been significantly reduced thanks to Levolux’s unique Triniti® Bracket. It is proven to outperform standard curtain walling brackets by as much as 70%, in terms of reducing structural heat loss.

As a pioneer in its field, Levolux offers an unrivalled range of products that can be tailored to meet almost any project requirement, taking into account solar path analysis, shading coefficients, structural tolerances and cooling loads.

The City of Calgary Council invested in the region of $1.4 billion to develop its West LRT route, which is designed to fulfil the region’s transit requirements for the next 20 years. 
By using energy efficient, sustainable building components, such as the Solar Shading solution provided by Levolux, the new transport infrastructure promises to provide a cost effective and comfortable service for Calgary’s commuters.

For more information, visit www.levolux.com.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Levolux gets results at Marlowe Academy

As this winter takes hold glare control becomes more critical as the sun appears lower in the sky and trees offer less shade to buildings. Excessive glare is particularly disruptive to those using IT or display screen equipment (DSE), such as office workers, teachers, students and pupils. 

While most of us tolerate glare or change position to compensate for it, pupils and staff at the award-winning Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate do not experience it in their classrooms, thanks to a Levolux solar shading solution.

The purpose-built Academy replaced an old school building to provide transformed educational opportunities to local children. Recognised as one of the finest school developments in the country, the Marlowe Academy was the winner of the inaugural RIBA Sorrell Foundation Schools Award 2007, as well as the RIBA National Award and the RIBA Award.

Excessive glare is particularly challenging for pupils using IT equipment or attending lectures as it can disrupt attention and obscure information being displayed on projector screens, whiteboards, televisions and computer display screens. Schools, academies and universities employ a range of techniques to prevent excessive glare, usually as a form of window treatment applied internally.

While internal roller blinds can be effective for light exclusion purposes or for limiting glare levels, they are less effective at reducing solar heat gain in the summer. To deliver year-round energy savings, BDP (Building Design Partnership), selected Levolux to supply and fit a state-of-the-art external solar shading solution at Marlowe Academy.
The custom solution comprises Levolux's motorised Markisolette Blinds, featuring an attractive and durable blue fabric. In total, 36 Blinds were installed around the school's innovative curved classroom block at ground and first floor level.

Blinds measuring up to 2.5 metres wide, with a maximum drop of 1.1 metres, are linked in pairs to provide effective shade, while allowing an unobstructed outward view. A standalone control system takes readings from an external anemometer and if wind speeds exceed a maximum threshold the Blinds are automatically retracted into head boxes to prevent damage.
All systems from Levolux are backed with the company’s design, manufacture and installation package. The company’s experience in bespoke solar shading is second to none worldwide.

Fore more information, visit www.levolux.com.